The Intimate Story of Family - The Couples Portrait Session by East Coast Fine Art Lifestyle Family Portrait Photographer Angelsea Urban
Why do most people fear the Family Portrait? Based on a ton of research I’ve done lately to refine my portrait brand, I conclude the top two reasons to be this:
1. Fear of looking bad physically
2. Fear of the cheese factor, looking or acting “fake”
However, both of these fears can be easily squashed with one word: VULNERABILITY
How do we do that?
Fear of looking bad physically:
If you’ve had children, I could ask you if you were afraid of what you looked like when your child was born? A moment likely captured on film or phone or digital camera and I am guessing the look on your face in that image – with messy hair and maybe sweat on your face and maybe IV tubes all around you – the look on your face as you see your newborn child was worthy to be captured. As a timeless memory for you, and for your family. The fear of looking bad physically was gone. You were completely vulnerable and in the moment. Nothing else mattered but the sound of your newborn’s cry and their daddy’s hand on your forehead telling you that you are his hero.
Nothing will replace those memories for you, but that image now remains for your child. The moment they entered and totally took over your world. THEY will treasure that forever. They are not looking at your hair or your sweat or even the IV tubes hooked up to you.
~ They treasure that look on your face. They see nothing else. ~
My grandmother always says, “if you don’t like a picture of yourself…just wait 5 years then look at it again.” At 80 years old I believe her experiences and advice and can totally agree. Your children will never see the imperfections you see unless you teach them to. If I had a dollar for every person that waited to get their portraits taken because they wanted to improve the way they looked….well… you get the idea.
I beg you not to let your perception of the perfect you stop you from creating wonderful memories for your family and future generations.
Fear of the cheese factor, looking or acting “fake”
If it feels fake, it will look fake… because it IS fake. This equals How to make Cheese 101.
This is what makes you cringe when you see this image of yourself. Because you don’t see the nicely exposed and composed image before you, you are taken back to that moment of fakeness. You are reminded of what you had to do to make yourself give that fake smile because the experience was cringeworthy. Maybe in 5 years the cheese memory will fade and you can appreciate the photograph, but right now, you are cringing.
Imagine you let down your guard and forgot there was a camera in your face for just a moment. (I know – it’s not the easiest thing to do), but what happens when you allow that is VULNERABILITY. The possibility to create an actual moment. Not a fake one.
The moment when you are your husband spend a minute talking about your wedding day as he describes what his first thoughts of you were that day. How he feels more in love with you today than that day. Are you wondering if your husband is even willing to have this conversation – in front of a camera? Don’t worry, he will. He loves you. He loved you that day, and this day. He will. Trust that he will, and he may surprise you.
Often times we get caught up in life and the need to “get things done” that this experience for you both becomes one of those “things” to cross off the list. GET FAMILY PORTRAITS DONE. CHECK.
I beg you not to allow this to happen. Instead of composing and exposing and CHECK, got “the shot”, let’s go grab some pizza….what if you allowed yourselves the opportunity to have these conversations?
Allowing yourself to hit pause on the fast forwarding of life and just, be. Be yourselves. Be vulnerable.
When it was just the two of you – before kids – before careers and mortgages. When you were just one gal and one guy and nothing else in the world mattered. When the two of you could conquer the world together. The way his hand fits in yours and the way that he just knows you – all of you. From the forehead kisses to the way you take your coffee to the moments that make up your everyday life together. When you allow yourselves to be that vulnerable, a beautiful thing happens……intimacy.
And when this couple looks back at this photograph, years from now, they will remember how they felt in that moment. How that vulnerable, intimate moment together was theirs, and it was real.
I believe that the Family Portrait should offer up a much more meaningful experience as you make these memories together.
I believe that the portraits you will cherish for generations should not only reflect this experience, but enable you to nourish these relationships.
Redefining the Family Portrait Experience is not just about showcasing the nuclear family.
Not every family looks like that. In fact, most of them don’t.
A couple … committing their lives to each other
A daughter … a child or grown adult
A son … a child or grown adult
A mother … or a mother with her child or children
A mother in waiting … in anticipation of her new child
A father … or a father with his child or children
A nuclear family … married parents with their children and maybe even the dog
A grandparent …. alone or with their own families or spouses
Sisters … just the girls or grown women
Brothers … just the boys or grown women
Siblings … just the kids or just the grown up adult siblings
Extended Families … the grandparents, the adult children and their children
Families by Choice: Best friends or honorary Uncles or Aunties with those they hold near and dear
And on and on the list would go….
Below are a few images from a photoshoot with some of the darling women of the Tri-State Pursuit 31 group. We had an amazing time with our “models” who were all former clients and friends. Michelle and Scott were some of my favorite clients ever – with some of the cutest kids ever – so cute that their kids are seen in my permanent portfolio. But this day was just about them – as a couple, and I was so thrilled that they were able to join us.
Creative Directors: Angelsea Urban & Kathy Bryan Azar for Tri-State Pursuit 31
Websites: www.angelseaurban.com & www.katherineazar.com
Wardrobe Coordinator: Becka Pillmore ~ Website: www.pillphotography.com
Caterer: Amie Bigelow Falk ~ Website: www.imagesbyamie.com
Venue: American Swedish Historical Museum ~ Website: www.americanswedish.org
Set design: A Styled Fete – Xiomara and Willie Roman ~ website: www.astyledfete.com
Other props: Maggpie Vintage Rentals ~ Website: www.maggpievintagerentals.com
Florist: Autumn Snow Floral Design – Stacy Franz and Jamie Schrader
Hair Styling: Brittany Garro & Stephanie Marceli or Karma Salon & Spa
Makeup: Amy Guirate and Erica Grisafi Greb of DUO Makeup Artistry ~ Website: www.duomakeupartistry.com
**To book your session with Angelsea Urban, please visit http://portraits.angelseaurban.com/#/contact/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Next reservations available March 25th 2014 & April 15th 2014 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________